School of Medicine
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Instructor, Pediatrics - Adolescent Medicine
BioShivani applies both quantitative and qualitative experimental and implementation research to develop and evaluate public health programs, that may ultimately contribute to healthy behaviors among adolescents. Her current research focuses on three key areas:
(1) Assessing youth patterns of use and perceptions about electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes or vapes) and other substances;
(2) Understanding why youth use e-cigarettes - the impact of marketing influences and using e-cigarettes to cope with stress; and
(3) Evaluating school-based educational interventions to reduce e-cigarette use.
In addition to research, Shivani enjoys teaching research methods and mentoring residents, fellows, postdoctoral trainees and students.
Through her Ph.D., Shivani developed and evaluated an arts-based educational program to reduce mental-health-related stigma in India. The program had a large, significant and positive effect on participants - they desired greater social proximity to people living with mental health problems. During this time, she also became interested in the intersection between mental health and substance use, a common theme in her interactions with youth. She also refined her skills in statistical analysis, study design and project management. Her interdisciplinary Ph.D. research at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine was supported by the PHFI-UKC Wellcome Trust Capacity Strengthening Award (2014-18). In 2017, she received the LSHTM Public Engagement Small Grant to strengthen school teachers’ understanding of mental health problems, which resulted in a monthly column in a popular educational magazine, reaching approximately 40,000 Indian teachers every month.
Previously, Shivani designed, implemented and evaluated health communication and behavior change initiatives at the Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI) from 2008-2014. She is especially passionate about designing educational public health programs to break silences around contentious public health issues, using participatory media and entertainment-education. At PHFI, she spearheaded health communication and community engagement programs aimed at changing behavior related to healthy lifestyles, sexual and reproductive health, maternal and neonatal care, menstrual hygiene, avoidable blindness and mental health. In partnership with the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India and community-based organizations, she led three educational interventions: a community awareness campaign, which improved treatment-seeking behavior for mental disorders in underserved areas; a website targeting young people to improve their lifestyle; and entertainment-education-based participatory action research to improve sexual and reproductive health.
Elias Roth Gerrick
Postdoctoral Scholar, Pathology
BioEli received his B.S. in Microbiology and Immunology from U.C. Irvine in 2013, where he worked in the lab of Dr. Celia Goulding. He earned his Ph.D. from Harvard University in 2018 in the lab of Dr. Sarah Fortune, where he studied post-transcriptional regulation of gene expression in Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Eli joined the Howitt lab at Stanford in the summer of 2018, where he is studying the influence of protozoan members of the microbiome on intestinal immunity.
Postdoctoral Scholar, Infectious Diseases
BioEnvironmental enteric dysfunction (EED) affects 50-90% of children in low-income countries and is likely an important factor in child stunting as it impedes efficient nutrient uptake in the small intestine. EED is suspected to be the result of persistent exposure to enteric pathogens, although it has not been correlated with any specific pathogen. My research explores the interplay of gut microbiota, including enteric pathogens, and the host immune system with a focus on understanding EED so we can rationally design treatments and preventive measures.